La Sapienza University Rome – Studying Medicine in Italy

The City

Rome needs no introduction. As the capital of modern Italy and one of history’s most important cities, Rome does not disappoint. Beautiful architecture, unmatched history, and the conveniences of a large modern city await you in the ‘Eternal City’. However, this comes at the price of masses of tourists, the associated tourist traps and scams, and a general chaotic vibe to the city

Size

With over 2,800,000 inhabitants in the city proper and over 4,300,000 in the metropolitan area, Rome is the largest city in Italy. If you want to live in a big city and have access to all the conveniences that brings, then this may be the choice for you.

On the flip side, Rome is not for everyone. Public transport can be considered below average European standards, the number of tourists in summer can be overwhelming, and the business of a big city can leave you feeling stressed. Make sure you are fine with living in a big city with an extra dash of chaos for 6 years if you are considering La Sapienza

The University Location

Courses are held at the Departments of the hospital Policlinico Umberto I and inside of the main campus of Sapienza University.

Transport

While Rome is not known for having the best public transport it is by no means terrible. You can travel by metro, tram, train or bus 24/7. On top of that, the city is bicycle-friendly and electric scooters can be rented across the city.

However, one thing that needs to be said is that buses are almost always late. Furthermore, Italy is well known for having frequent strikes, which can disrupt the public transport process. On top of this, in the summer months, you will be fighting for a place with the hordes of tourists that visit Rome every year. 

This should be by no means a deal breaker for anyone, public transport still functions, but be ready to expect some additional stress in your life from overcrowded transport that never arrives on time. 

The cost of public transport is about 20 euros per month. Note that there are ways to get discounts, which will depend on your family income (ISEE).

You can find more information here https://www.rome.net/transportation

Weather

Expect hot and humid summers. Unless you like a hot climate, the summers can be really intense rising above 31 degrees Celsius. In the winter it is usually around 6 degrees, and they are quite mild. You will not get snow, but rain and fog are common in the winter months. 

Cost of Living

Rome is expensive relative to other Italian cities, and you need to take care avoiding tourist traps. A lot of restaurants, cafes and bars prey on tourists with money, so prices can be extremely high. You will need to find areas that tourists do not visit if you want an affordable meal/drink. A cheap meal can be around 8 euros, while something nicer can push around 25-35 euros. Try to eat your lunch at the university Mensa, as this can cost as little as 1.50-2.00 euros if you qualify based on your ISEE. 

However, relative to northern European cities, Rome is actually not that bad. Rent can be quite cheap (around 250 euros per month) if it is shared accommodation in a cheap area, but can rise well over 1000 euros per month if you wish to live alone in the fancy part of town. Heating, electricity, internet and condominium fees can add another 100-200 euros per month to your bill (it is sometimes bundled together with your rent).

Public transport as mentioned before is around 20 euros per month (try to get a discount based on your ISEE where possible).

Safety

While not the safest city in Italy, Rome is considered relatively safe. You can be out at night without any problems provided you exercise good street smarts. Avoid dangerous areas at night, take a look at these areas here https://www.smartertravel.com/tips-rome-warnings-dangers-stay-safe/

As a major tourist hub, you need to be wary of pickpockets and scammers. Unfortunately, as an international student who doesn’t speak Italian, you will likely be targeted. Be suspicious of random people who approach you speaking English, always keep your hands on your pockets/handbags and do not entertain people trying to sell you garbage.

Activities

The benefits of living in a big city are that you will have access to tonnes of entertainment. World-class restaurants of every cuisine, countless bars, sports facilities, gyms, cinemas, parks… you will have access to everything!

What’s more, Rome offers you the very best in terms of culture. Roman ruins, old palaces, operas… the list goes on. While the city can be stressful, you certainly will not be bored. 

The University

The Students

With 38 EU places and 10 non-EU places, you will have a much smaller class than the average Italian med school. This is quite advantageous, as you will be able to build tighter relationships with your class and professors. 

In general, the majority of EU places are filled by Italians, while the Non-EU are filled by students from around the world. 

Exam Structure

Most exams are oral exams, with a written exam sometimes being required in order to progress to the oral. The oral determines the grade. 

Exams can be taken multiple times per year, with each exam being available 7 times per academic year. You can always reject an exam grade if you do not like your score. 

Ranking

Rankings vary, placing La Sapienza between 17th to 2nd place for medical schools in Italy. Do not worry to much about official university rankings however, they change every year, and have virtually no impact on your future employment. Base your decision on which city you would like to live in, not artificial rankings!

Tuition Fees

Fees range from €140 to €3000. The amount you will pay depends on your family income (ISEE). However, if your parents live abroad the amount can fluctuate between €500 and €1000 based on what country your parents live in and what that country’s GDP per capita is.

Competitiveness 

La Sapienza is more competitive than a typical university but not amongst the most competitive (based on past IMAT scores). Remember, every year the score and competitiveness can change, so do not just base your choice on past IMAT scores

20212020201920182017
EU (final round)40.446.743.638.540.2
Non-EU53.142.344.3

4439.1

Scholarships

You can apply for a scholarship based on your family income (ISEE) at DISCO Lazio. This includes a lump sum payment, free accommodation and reduced-price meals at Mensa cafeterias. To see if you qualify, check out their website here http://www.laziodisco.it/

The university also provides various scholarships, which you can check out here https://www.uniroma1.it/en/pagina/scholarships

Canteen Facilities

There is a Mensa (state-sponsored fee-reduced canteen) as well as a bar, café and restaurant at the university campus.

Educational Facilities

You will have access to lecture halls, an anatomy simulation centre, labs, and of course an entire hospital where you can do your clerkships. Medical equipment, microscopes, and virtual anatomy tables among other tools will be at your disposal. 

The university has plenty of libraries that you can access across its various buildings.

Attendance Requirements

Technically you need to attend 70% of your classes in order to sit the exam, however, it is up to the professor if this rule is enforced. You will find out whether the individual course has this requirement when you first enrol. 

More Information

For frequently asked questions, check out the courses FAQ page https://web.uniroma1.it/farmaciamedicina/en/node/7785

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